Giuseppe Salvaggio, founder of Expatfile, refers to a recent study which shows that only 30% of US expats have received their COVID-19 stimulus payments. This means that many US expats have missed out on their stimulus payments when they should have received one. Giuseppe discussed that there is still a simple way for US expats to claim their stimulus payments – by filing their expat tax return.
How can expats claim their stimulus payment?
The IRS introduced the Recovery Rebate Credit for tax year 2020. The Recovery Rebate Credit basically represents the amount of stimulus payment that a taxpayer is entitled to, but did not receive. If a taxpayer owes any US tax, the Recovery Rebate Credit will be first used to offset the amount owed. If no US tax is owed, then the Recovery Rebate Credit will be refunded to the taxpayer. Giuseppe mentions that most US expats do not end up owing any US tax, so the Recovery Rebate Credit will turn into a refund for most US expats.
Giuseppe says that an expat family of four may be entitled to a cash refund of up to $5,800. Most single or non-married US expats can expect a cash refund of up to $1,800. For expats wanting to understand the exact eligibility requirements to receive the stimulus payment, check out this article.
When can expats expect their 2020 tax refund?
The IRS initially would have started accepting tax return as early as January 27th, 2021, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the IRS delayed the opening of e-filing season until February 12th, 2021.
This means that the earliest US expats can begin their refund process is February 12th, and then they can expect their refund in up to three weeks once they have e-filed their expat tax return.
How can expats ensure they receive their 2020 tax refund?
Expats can easily file their expat tax return by using Expatfile. Expatfile built the only do-it-yourself tax software designed specifically for Americans living abroad. This year’s release includes an automatic feature which figures out how much of the Recovery Rebate Credit is eligible as a refund for US expats. For more details on Expatfile’s tax software for expats, please check out their website.
In order to facilitate that expats get their refunds as quick as possible, US expats can already get a head start on February 1st, 2021. Expatfile will queue each users’ completed tax return, and automatically e-file them as soon as e-filing opens on February 12th, 2021.
Giuseppe mentions that since a lot of US expats did not receive any stimulus payments in 2020, many can expect large refunds this year – even if they don’t owe any US taxes. For further details on this topic, Expatfile keeps an up to date blog on their website.